Two Faces of Cosmopolitanism: Culture and Politics

  • Ulf Hannerz


This overview article discusses recent developments in the study of cosmopolitanism, with an emphasis on the two major dimensions of culture and politics. It is pointed out that since the end of the Cold War, there has been a surge of interest in the political aspects of cosmopolitanism, but that the relationship between the cultural and political senses of the notion of cosmopolitanism has mostly been given little attention. A comparison is suggested between cosmopolitanism and nationalism – the latter is widely understood to occur in forms of varied cultural density. The article also raises the problem of the social distribution of cosmopolitanism. It is pointed out that while cosmopolitanism has often been understood to be in large part an elite (and male) orientation, more recent studies point to more diverse loci in the social structure.